Government caught offside on Dalai Lama issue

Now this is embarrassing.

Now this is embarrassing.

The South African government has gone and done the unthinkable.

Note that I did not say our government.

Why would I do that when I cannot understand or agree to the denial of a visa to the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who was set to attend a peace conference in South Africa.

The Dalai Lama and other Nobel Peace Prize laureates were to discuss ways of using football to fight racism and xenophobia ahead of next year's World Cup.

The conference was eventually cancelled, but the issues remain.

The reasons given for denying the Dalai Lama a visa, stink.

How was it in the best interest of South Africa to do that?

How, again, was it going to "remove the world's attention from the 2010 Fifa World Cup preparations"?

The Chinese, the people with a problem with the Dalai Lama, are celebrating.

The China Mall and the Dragon Centre now have something in common - a reason to set off the firecrackers.

They have found something to bond over instead of being at each other's throats and seeking Julius Malema's intervention to broker peace between the warring factions.

The Chinese and the South African government should explain how they had hoped to achieve what the peace conference was about when some role players were barred from participating.

Our own Nobel laureates, former president FW de Klerk and Archbishop Emeritus Mpilo Tutu were going to boycott the event in solidarity with the Dalai Lama.

Another laureate, former president Nelson Mandela is said to have had "no plans" to attend.

The credibility of the conference was gone.

The head of the Nobel Institute in Oslo, Geir Lundestad and former head of the Nobel Committee, Ole Danbolt Mjoes, had stated categorically that the committee would in no way participate in the conference if South African authorities did not reverse their decision to deny the Dalai Lama a visa.

Who can blame them.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Don't you think some people learnt very well from the previous government?

This smacks of the ways of the apartheid regime.

Even at that time decisions were made in "the best interest of the country".

We didn't like it then. Why should we like it now?

Can you begin to imagine what it would be like were any country to refuse Mandela a visa?

As it is, who is removing the world's attention from the 2010 World Cup preparations? It is the very same people who were saying they were doing it for our sake.

They didn't even bother to ask us what we think.

The Chinese have got someone by the balls.

To demonstrate the integrity and peace within him, the Dalai Lama's spokesman Thubten Samphel simply said: "Since his holiness says he will not inconvenience any government, we at the Tibetan administration will not issue a strong response."

That should get you thinking.

As Archbishop Tutu said, we shamelessly succumbed to Fong Kong pressure.

That also goes to show how strong the fah-fee brigade is.

We desperately need answers from whoever took this clearly unpopular decision.

It is so ironic that while the country's borders are so painfully porous, we still have the guts to tell other people they are not welcome here.

And we embrace Robert Mugabe and promise him all the money he could ever ask for so that he and his wife can go and squander it while Zimbabwe is on fire.

Where are our priorities?

This writer was also going to stay away from the peace conference in solidarity with the Dalai Lama, the Nobel laureates, Nobel Committee and all peace- loving citizens of this country.

Peace be with you!

And to think I was going to write about Dikgang Mabalane and his omission from Bafana Bafana. Talk about that next time.

Good luck against Norway and Portugal.